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In the year 1907, the Woman’s Home Companion commissioned me to go to Russia to write the story of the early days, courtship and marriage of her whom the world knows to-day as the “Tsaritsa.” The following year, the same periodical sent me to Italy to write a similar account of the life of Queen Elena; and in 1910 I was once more sent abroad, this time to Spain, to learn all about Queen Victoria Eugenie.
The chapters printed in the magazine articles constitute only a part of the material which I gathered on these three trips, and consequently the stories herewith presented are to my best knowledge and belief the most complete records of these three Queens, which have yet been gathered and published. It was necessary for me to rely almost entirely upon members of the several Courts of St. Petersburg, Madrid and Rome for my biographical data. In each capital I spent many months, cultivating the acquaintance of all who were in a position to give me this material, especially members of the entourages of these several sovereigns. Accuracy was always my prime aim and the greatest care has been taken to corroborate impressions and to check up each parti
cle of information which has been utilised. I have every confidence that the details herewith presented may be relied upon by future biographers and historians. Readableness has in no instance led me to sacrifice, or in any way to exaggerate or alter literal facts.
I have endeavoured to present the stories of these three Queens mainly from the standpoint of the heart interest which attaches to the romances which have characterised each of their marriages.
I should be most ungracious if I were to omit expressing my cordial appreciation of the valued co-operation which I received in St. Petersburg from Harold Williams, Esq., from Miss Margaret Eager, for six years Nursery Governess to the Royal Family of Russia; and in Rome from Doctor Guido Pardo, whose energy, industry and wide knowledge of men and affairs in Italy were all placed so generously at my disposal; and in Madrid from El Señor Don Emilio M. de Torres, confidential Secretary to His Majesty King Alfonso XIII, and El Señor Don Pablo de Churruca of the Spanish Diplomatic Service.
The justification for the publication of this work in more or less permanent form lies in my belief in the verity and authenticity of every last detail, all of which were gathered at such considerable expenditure of time and labour. Material so carefully gathered and verified should be of certain service to future writers.